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by Stephen Downes
December 24, 2008

On the Scale of Intervention
More on the connection between poverty and brain development. Yes, it is good news that much of the damage can be addressed through remediation. But this should not sway people from recognizing that the most reliable way to improve learning outcomes is to address issues of poverty. Doug Noon, Borderland, December 24, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Trend Blend 2009: A Map of Time and Tide

You have to love the diagram. What about the 'mega-trends' represented? "The mega-trends are: global connectivity, anxiety, volatility, uncertainty, debt, power shift eastwards, aging, GRIN technologies, digitalisation, climate change and sustainability." Forget things like aging, anxiety and volatility - these are properties of only a few (western, industrialized) countries. Forget things like debt and power shifts; we will all have to face worldwide shortages of food, resources and energy against a backdrop of potentially catastrophic climate change. New technologies will help, but in order to address these issues we will have to each of us become a lot smarter, because the solutions will necessarily be distributed solutions. Becoming smarter, however, depends on resolving inequity and addressing poverty - which will mean forcing those who have taken it to return the wealth they have extracted from society. A tall order. Beth Kanter, Beth's Blog, December 24, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Top 10 Edtech News Etc Thingers of 2008
Dave Cormier posts his annual list of the year's top events. No, 'edupunk' is not on it, though I suppose he can be forgiven for this. Blogging is dead, Wikipedia is old, and a good dose of "blah blah blah." Right now, from my perspective, the people who "just don't get it" seem to be ruling the roost - or, at least, the press reports. This won't hold; their credibility is the same as (and tied to) that of financial managers and the old new right. Tired ideas about central control and the ascendancy of capitalism and the laissez-faire commercial marketplace. Right now, it is radical to say, "My instrument of learning can learn." Soon, we will be able to usher in a new era which begins with the recognition that everybody learns, and takes it from there. Dave Cormier, Dave's Educational Blog, December 24, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Writing & the National Survey of Student Engagement
For those of you doing research using surveys - this is how to conduct research using surveys. It's still not perfect; being "based on information from nearly 380,000 randomly selected first-year and senior students at 722 four-year colleges and universities in the U.S." it looks at students from only one country in the world. But the numbers are impressive. This comment is interesting: "The third and fifth findings remind me of Csikzentmihalyi's research, which shows that challenge is a crucial part of learning and of enjoying that learning. As Csikszentmihalyi states: It is not that students cannot learn, it is that they do not wish to." Charles Nelson, Explorations in Learning, December 24, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

The Apples and Oranges of Shibboleth and OpenID
The JISC-funded review of OpenID is good enough so far as it goes, and authored by people who actually built an OpenID gateway, which lends it some credibility. I don't think there's a lot in the report that would be new to proponents of OpenID, but it may be new to the report's readers. Andy Powell criticizes the report, saying 'it inevitably ends up comparing OpenID against the Shibboleth / UK Federation which is not comparing like with like - one is a bare technology, the other a technology delivered in the context of a set of national policies." Which is fair enough, I suppose. Andy Powell, eFoundations, December 24, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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